HomeGuyanaWelcome Remarks by Foreign Minister at Guyana’s International Flagship Event

Welcome Remarks by Foreign Minister at Guyana’s International Flagship Event

” It is therefore imperative that the lessons from COVID-19 that conduce to a low-carbon development pathway be fully documented, analysed, embraced and implemented, as and where applicable.” – Minister Hugh Todd

Statement by the Honourable Hugh Todd, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
October 29, 2020

HE Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of
United Nations System Heads;
[Hon Mark Phillips, Prime Minister]
Honourable Ministers of the Group of 77 and China
[Colleague Ministers of Government and other Members of Parliament]
Distinguished Heads of Agencies of the United Nations system
Distinguished delegates
Ladies and gentlemen

I extend warm greetings to you all from Georgetown, Guyana.

It is my honour, on behalf of the Government and people of Guyana, to
welcome you to this Flagship Event convened by the G77 chairmanship
under the theme, “Maintaining a Low Carbon Development Path
towards the 2030 Agenda in the Era of COVID-19”.

While for us in this part of the world, the day is just beginning, for many of
you, it is already far spent. And for others still, we are well into the night
season. It behooves me therefore to thank you all most sincerely for the
sacrifice you are making to participate in this event.

We meet at an important crossroads in international relations. Just a few
days ago, the United Nations celebrated the 75 th anniversary of its founding.
However, multilateralism is under stress, even as global challenges multiply
and intensify.

Raised to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, the
Organisation now witnesses a world at war with an invisible enemy, the
coronavirus, to name but one of the myriad of threats to peace and
development facing the human family.
The virus has claimed more than one million lives in a mere ten months,
with over 42 million cases worldwide. Many of these cases and deaths are
in developing countries, members of the Group of 77. It is possible that some
of the best lessons in the fight against this pandemic might well be drawn
from within our Group.

The circumstances of our meeting illustrate in striking terms the challenges
the world faces as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They illustrate
equally the opportunities inherent in these challenges.

The pandemic has imposed itself on every facet of human life and taken a
toll on the livelihoods of millions across the globe. It remains a threat to life
and livelihoods in the future, undermining economies and accentuating
social inequalities and poverty.

It also compounds that most critical of global challenges, the existential and
pervasive threat posed by climate change, which is the focus of our current

We must overcome this menace if we are to achieve the Sustainable
Development Goals and rise to the promise of the Paris Agreement.

On both counts, our world is dangerously off course.

But COVID-19, even as it threatens, it also teaches. The link between health
and sustainability has been sharply underlined. And we are learning by force
of necessity that much more can be delivered even today with a smaller
carbon footprint.

The Group of 77 and China has no doubt significantly reduced the carbon
footprint associated with its meetings during the course of the current year.
As has the United Nations.

It is therefore imperative that the lessons from COVID-19 that conduce to a
low-carbon development pathway be fully documented, analysed, embraced
and implemented, as and where applicable.

It is Guyana’s hope as Chair in this seminal year, 2020, that the G77 and
China will be able to contribute in thinking and action to a more healthy and
sustainable world, keeping the existential threat posed by climate change at
the centre of global attention. It is a threat that leaves no room for delayed
actions or backsliding on commitments.

Hence, our meeting today!

The Flagship event, convened by the Government of Guyana, in its capacity
as 2020 Chair of the Group of 77 and China, seeks to bring together
Ministerial and expert level representatives from the membership of the

Group of 77 and China. Its three principal objectives are clearly defined in
the available Concept Note.

These objectives will be realized through four Sessions that will focus on
more ambitious climate actions including with respect to provision of
climate finance, lessons learned from COVID 19 experiences and
implications for combatting climate change and achieving the 2030 Agenda,
as well as the benefits of ecosystem based Approaches to climate change.

His Excellency Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative
Republic of Guyana, will set the stage for the Event with his opening
address, outlining his vision of the way forward and expectations of an
action-oriented roadmap.

I express our sincere gratitude to His Excellency Mr Antonio Gutteres,
Secretary-General of the United Nations, who so graciously consented to
deliver the keynote address. We are also grateful to the Ministers, Agency
Heads, experts and other representatives that have kindly agreed to make
presentations or serve as moderators, or discussants, on the various topics. I

The Communiqué to be issued at the end of our deliberations will highlight
the key messages emanating from this Flagship Event. While it is not a
negotiated outcome, every effort will be made to take into account
comments from Members of the Group. To that end, a draft was circulated
earlier this week.

With these few words, I once again bid you warm welcome and express the
hope that our deliberations will help to advance our collective
understanding of the issues that need to be addressed and of the steps to the
taken in the foreseeable future, to build a more inclusive, healthy,
sustainable and secure world.

I thank you


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